ATLANTA — Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis is trying to raise $600,000 to help tutor students affected by the district’s widespread cheating scandal.
Davis told a group of community and business leaders Monday that it will cost $4 million to give extra help to 5,500 students in math and 3,000 students in English language arts. He said most of that money will be covered by federal funding but the district needs financial help to make sure every student gets tutoring.
He originally pledged to help students whose test scores were inflated, but expanded that to all struggling students once he realized it would be difficult to find every affected student.
“We couldn’t identify them, and so the reality is we’re going to take all kids who need help,” Davis said following Monday’s Atlanta Partners For Education luncheon. “It is tailored remediation. They will be pulled out of class and given what they need.”
A state investigation released in July revealed widespread cheating in almost half of the district’s 100 schools. Investigators found that almost 180 educators gave answers to students or changed answer sheets after students turned tests in.
Criminal investigations into the allegations are under way in three counties and, so far, eight teachers and three school administrators have lost their teaching licenses.
The district also is fighting to keep its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools after being put on probation in January. Davis said he expects a “favorable outcome” when the commission announces its ruling in coming weeks.
The testing problems in Atlanta schools first came to light after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that some scores were statistically improbable. The state released audits of test results after the newspaper published its analysis.
An investigation published by the newspaper over the weekend showed a pattern of academic irregularities in the district’s high schools.
Davis said he’s ordered audits of standardized test scores in the district’s 23 high schools and of graduation rates and grading procedures.